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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Doubt, God, and Polarization

Daniel A. Cox at AEI:
  • Most Americans believe in God, but doubts are more common than is often reported. Nearly half (46 percent) of the public express some amount of uncertainty about the existence of God.
  • Nonbelievers have doubts about God too. More than one-quarter of atheists report that they are not completely certain that God does not exist. Atheists express greater doubts about the existence of God than white evangelical Protestants do. 
  • Religious doubting is particularly common among young adults. About only one-third (34 percent) of young people believe in God and are certain about their beliefs. Nearly 6 in 10 young adults express some degree of uncertainty about God’s existence
Americans of differing political perspectives have sharply varying views about God. Political conservatives express much greater certainty about their belief in God than do liberals. In fact, the more conservative one is, the greater certainty their religious beliefs. More than 6 in 10 political conservatives and over three-quarters of Americans who  identify as very conservative believe in God without any doubts. Liberals, by contrast, express considerable doubts about God. Only 21 percent of Americans who are very liberal are completely certain in their belief that God exists. (See Figure 5.) Roughly as many (24 percent) are completely certain that God does not exist, while a majority (55 percent) of Americans entertain some degree of doubt about God’s existence, including 14 percent who are completely uncertain
Reis Thebault at WP:
State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz was on the ninth “Jesus” of her opening prayer in the Pennsylvania statehouse when other lawmakers started to look uncomfortable.
Speaker Mike Turzai, a fellow Republican, glanced up — but Borowicz carried on, delivering a 100-second ceremonial invocation that some of her colleagues decried as an offensive, divisive and Islamophobic display shortly before the legislature swore in its first Muslim woman.
“God forgive us — Jesus — we’ve lost sight of you, we’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us,” Borowicz said, followed by a quote from the Bible’s second book of Chronicles that implores God’s followers to “turn from their wicked ways.”
By the time she said “Amen,” Borowicz had invoked Jesus 13 times, deploying the name between prayerful clauses as though it were a comma. She mentioned “Lord” and “God” another six times each and referenced “The Great I Am” and “the one who’s coming back again, the one who came, died and rose again on the third day.”
As the prayer reached a crescendo, at least one member shouted objections. Turzai, standing behind her, looked up again and nudged her elbow, prompting her to quickly conclude the address. Afterward, the protests only grew louder.
“It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders — leaders that are supposed to represent the people,” Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, the newly sworn-in Democrat who is Muslim, told the Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Monday. “I came to the Capitol to help build bipartisanship and collaborations regardless of race or religion to enhance the quality of life for everyone in the Commonwealth.”